Support for Families of Kids With Dyslexia

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In the spring of 2020 when the world shut down, my youngest was in Pre-k. I started casually working with him at home on pre-reading skills, mostly letter and sound identification. Having watched his sister learn her letters and sounds a few years previous, and then eventually how to read, I was familiar with the timeline of the average age these things happen for kids. I knew my son was smart, but for some reason, he was not retaining any work we did on letters and their corresponding sounds. I started to worry.

Young boy lays on bed with book

When my son re-entered a classroom the following fall, in a transition class, my worries only grew. While his classmates were easily putting letters together and reading actual words, my little guy couldn’t even pick out the letter “P” from the alphabet. My husband has Dyslexia, so the possibility of that label was already something I was prepared for, but was also scared to death of.

When my son entered Kindergarten last fall, I pushed for Dyslexia testing at the beginning of the school year. I was met with some resistance from the school- after all, a lot of Kindergarteners don’t know their letters or how to read at the beginning of the year. We almost never identify Dyslexia in Kindergarten, they said. But my intuition (and what I had witnessed with my own eyes) told me to be persistent and insist on the testing.

Sure enough, a few weeks later, my son was identified as a student with Dyslexia (as well as Dysgraphia) and put on a 504 plan. Since then, he has THRIVED due to his wonderful Dyslexia teacher who works with him individually 5 days per week. He is in 1st grade now, and reading on grade level!

Every family’s experience with Dyslexia will be different, but there are a few things I’ve learned that have made this road a little less bumpy than it could have been.

Be Familiar with the Signs of Dyslexia

Dyslexia Reading Connection defines Dyslexia as a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words.

Many people think children with Dyslexia see and write letters backwards. While this is sometimes (not always) the case, there are many other signs that your child could have this disorder. In young preschool age children, these include trouble identifying letters and matching them with sounds, as was my son’s case. Other children have difficulty generating rhyming words or counting syllables in words. Older children may struggle to learn to read, with reading comprehension, putting their thoughts on paper, and/or poor spelling.

Not all children who struggle with some of these are Dyslexic, but if you are concerned about this being a possibility, you should have your child tested.

Early Testing and Intervention is Key

In most cases involving struggles with development in children, the faster you identify the problem and start appropriate interventions, the better the outcome. This is certainly true with Dyslexia. I pushed for early testing even against our school’s skepticism because I did not want my son to fall behind his peers in Kindergarten and possibly give him a bad attitude about school and learning. By getting him on a 504 plan so early in his educational career, he has confidence and pride in his reading abilities and is right where he needs to be with the rest of his class.

Moms, if your child attends public school, you have a right under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to request Dyslexia testing. 

Once you make the request, depending on what state you live in, the school has a certain number of days to conduct testing (usually 45-60).

If your child attends a private school or is homeschooled, you can have Dyslexia testing done privately. This testing is not inexpensive, but sometimes insurance will cover part or all of it.

Supporting Your Child

While Dyslexia is certainly a challenge, it is not an insurmountable one. Thankfully, we live in a time of endless resources and support available at our fingertips. City Mom Collective is a great resource for support, encouragement and resources.

This post from Coastal Bend Mom offers some really good resources on the web for moms of newly identified Dyslexic kids:

Your Child Has Dyslexia: Now What?

This post from Kansas City Mom Collective stresses the importance of early intervention as well as support for educators.

The Dyslexia Debate

This post from Broward Mom Collective shares how Dyslexia can be a gift and the importance of not leaving any children behind.

The Ones We Left Behind

Check out this interview with CMC founder Steph Flies and Dr. Sally Shaywitz on her book, Overcoming Dyslexia.

Overcoming Dyslexia | An Interview with Dr. Sally Shaywitz

Additional Resources

If you suspect your child may be Dyslexic or if they have been identified already, here are some additional resources to help you help them.

Reading Rockets gives 10 great resources on Dyslexia

Learning Ally offers parents information on educational tools, interventions, books and more.

Dyslexic Advantage has courses available for teachers and homeschooling parents

If you are just entering this world or have been here for a time, know that you are not alone. Dyslexia is just a descriptor of how your child learns, it does not define their intelligence or potential.

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Elizabeth was raised in Houston and met her husband Ryan shortly after graduating from Texas A&M with a journalism degree. A few years later, Grayson {Sept 2010}, turned Elizabeth’s world upside down, not only with his sparkling blue eyes and killer smile, but with his profound disabilities and diagnosis of Mitochondrial Disease. After two years of navigating the world of special needs parenting, Elizabeth and Ryan were blessed with Charlotte {Jan 2013} and Nolan {Sept 2015}, perfectly completing their party of five. Elizabeth and her crew live in Katy, Texas, and when she can steal a few moments for herself, she can be found out for Mexican food and margaritas with girlfriends, binge-listening to podcasts and audiobooks, or trying once again {unsuccessfully} to organize her closet. In addition to her role with City Mom Collective, Elizabeth is the Managing Editor for Houston Moms. You can connect with Elizabeth on Facebook, Instagram or elizabethkbaker.com.

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